Minggu, 28 Agustus 2016

CIGARETTE PRICE HIKE YET TO BE DECIDED

by Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Aug 29 (Antara) - The government is yet to take a decision on increasing the excise rate and sales price of cigarettes in the country as it still has to conduct a study to evaluate the pros and cons.
         Since the proposal on the price hike was put forth in July, several quarters have suggested making careful evaluation before the cigarette price is hiked.
         Legislator Mukhamad Misbakhun of Commission XI of the House of Representatives stated at a discussion in Jakarta on Saturday (Aug. 27) that the government should conduct careful evaluation before deciding to increase the excise rate and price of cigarettes.
         According to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, the government has not yet issued a new sales price and excise rate.
         "The Finance Ministry has not yet issued any new regulation regarding the retail sales price or excise tariff of cigarettes," she noted in Jakarta last week.
         The public has been involved in debates and discourse as reports circulated lately that President Joko Widodo will increase the price of cigarettes to almost two folds that of the current price to Rp50 thousand per pack.

Sabtu, 27 Agustus 2016

STOP BLAMING GOAT MEAT FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

 By Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Aug 27 (Antara) - To reduce import of beef, the Indonesian government will focus on developing sheep and goat farming in the country to provide alternative animal protein for consumers at home.
        However, even though it is more of a myth than reality, the fact is that many people still consider goat meat as something that leads to high blood pressure and increased cholesterol in the body.   
    Many doctors have clarified that consuming lamb or goat meat is not the main cause of hypertension as understood by certain quarters. Goat meat has high saturated fat content yet the unsaturated fat is even higher.

        It should also be noted that the saturated fat in goat meat is less than that found in beef or lamb. So, one should not avoid consuming goat satay if one consumes beef. As long as it is consumed in reasonable amounts, it would not cause high blood pressure or increase cholesterol level. It is just the same as consuming beef, according to a doctor.
        A goat breeder, during the 2016 Livestock Service Month attended by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in Bogor, West Java, on Wednesday, asked the government to clear the misconception and stop blaming goat meat as a cause of hypertension.

        The breeder, who had come from Batu City in East Java, was attending a dialogue with the president on the development of goat and sheep breeding at home. On the occasion, the Ministry of Agriculture also organized a sheep contest to enliven the livestock service month.
         During the dialogue, President Jokowi expressed the hope that people would not only look for beef and that sheep and goat would also become sources of alternative animal protein.
         The president also reiterated that goat meat did not boost blood pressure or cholesterol level. "I often consume goat satay, but my cholesterol level remains low, unless I consume the innards," he shared.
         Jokowi supported the development of sheep and goat breeding as part of the efforts to meet people's need for animal proteins. "Sheep and goats can breed fast and provide alternative meat to meet people's need for animal protein," he underlined at the Bogor Presidential Palace on Saturday.
         Consumers at home still focus on beef, and a shift to sheep and goat will help increase intake of alternative animal protein, Jokowi suggested.
         Sheep and goat breeding need not take up too much land like a cattle ranch, he added. Sheep or goat meat also contains 27 percent proteins while cow meat only contains 24 percent.
         In order to encourage sheep breeding, the government is organizing an annual sheep contest and a chance to win a President Cup in the coming contests to be held in October or November.
         Jokowi promised to organize a sheep contest in the form of a President Cup at the end of the year in an effort to encourage sheep and goat breeding. "I have ordered the agriculture minister to prepare for a President Cup competition in October or November," Jokowi informed during the dialogue.
         President Jokowi also promised that the contest will offer a big prize. He will set aside Rp1 billion for the contest development.
         The Ministry of Agriculture organized the sheep and goat contest on Saturday in Bogor as part of the 2016 Livestock Service.
         A total of 875 heads of sheep and goats took part in the contest in which quality sheep and goats were to be selected. The event also rouses the pride of breeders.
         The agriculture ministry has been paying serious attention to the quality of sheep and goat whose population has increased by 5.8 percent from 2011 to 2015.
        In 2015, the population of sheep and goats had reached 36 million. They are bred on a (small) home-scale (less than 10 each) across the country. Breeders in West Java, Central Java and East Java, dominate sheep farming in the country.
         Sheep breeding has developed well in the country as reflected in the number of sheep and goats, 17 million and 19 million, respectively. "Hopefully, we will export these (sheep/goats) next year," the minister noted.
          It is forecast that the population of sheep and goats in the coming five years will increase.
          The FAO-OECD Agriculture Outlook 2015-2015 has forecast that the annual local meat consumption will increase to 35.3 kilogram per capita per year from 1.3 kg per capita per year in 2015.
         Although sheep and goat meat is not popularly traded globally, this commodity has a promising global market segment to meet certain needs such as the demand during religious rituals in Asia, Africa and the Pacific.8**4***A014/INE)EDITED BY INE
(T.A014/A/BESSR/A. Abdussalam) 27-08-2016 21:47:

EVALUATING IMPACT OF PACKAGES ON LOGISTICS CENTERS

By Andi Abddussalam
        Jakarta, Aug 27 (Antara) - The government will evaluate the impact of its economic policy packages on Bonded Logistics Centers (PLB) to see whether the policy is effective in facilitating the flow of goods in bonded zones.
         The evaluation will  be carried out in the Cikarang PLB, West Java, among others, by a team of the Working Group I (Pokja I), one of the four Pokjas set up to accelerate and monitor the implementation of the government's economic policy packages.
         The Pokja I will carry out observations in bonded areas as part of its task to conduct a campaign and dissemination of information on the package of policies. The working group also carries out its task of disseminating information through media advertisements. 
    Her group will see the problems being faced in the implementation of the economic policy packages and try to find solutions to the problems, according to Pokja I Coordinator for Economic Affairs, Diah Maulida. It will see the problems prevailing there before and after the implementation of the policy, she added.


Jumat, 26 Agustus 2016

GOVT DEREGULATES HOUSING FOR LOW-INCOME PEOPLE

by Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Aug 26 (Antara) - The government has issued a de-regulatory measure to facilitate the construction of low-cost housing for low-income people.
         The measure, part of the efforts to implement the government's one million house development program, was aimed at enabling low-income people to have a house of their own. It was contained in the 13th tranche of the government's Economic Policy Package (PKE XIII) announced last Wednesday (Aug 24).
         According to Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR) Minister Basuki Hadimuljono, the government specifically issued the PKE XIII as a concrete measure to fulfill what was conceived by the first vice president Bung Hatta.
         It was Bung Hatta's dream to provide decent housing for all people, particularly those from the low-income group, including families of the civil servants and members of the military and National Police. 
    "The aim behind the issuance of the PKE XIII is to facilitate the construction of low-cost houses for low-income people by streamlining the licensing procedures," Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said when visiting the tomb of Bung Hatta at Tanah Kusir Public Cemetery. The visit was also in conjunction with the National Housing Day observed on Thursday.


Kamis, 25 Agustus 2016

CIGARETTE EXPENSES SHOULD BE DIVERTED TO IMPROVE NUTRITIONAL INTAKE

by Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Aug 25 (Antara) - Instead of damaging your lungs with smoke and increasing cancer risk, the citizens should utilize the money to increase the nutritional intake of their families and help  improve the quality of human resources.
         The answer to this problem is probably most sought by various circles from the health sector and the younger generation that have, so far, called on the government to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control treaty.
        It is clear that the treaty will harm the interests of the tobacco industries and tobacco farmers, and they along with the smokers have jointly opposed it. Hence, the government's recent idea to significantly hike the price of cigarettes has immediately sparked positive and negative reactions.
        While targeting to boost state revenues from cigarette taxes, the idea is also aimed at reducing the number of smokers. However, only time will tell if implementing the idea to hike cigarette prices will reduce the number of smokers while simultaneously increasing tax receipts from cigarette sales.

Rabu, 24 Agustus 2016

RESTORING DEGRADED PEATLAND

 by Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Aug 24 (Antara) - Indonesia is host to a large forest and peatland area which holds billions of tons of carbon sinks, which, if released, could cause danger to the environment and contribute to the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
         The Center for International Forest Research (CIFOR) revealed that as per data last year, Indonesia hosts 34 billion tons of peat carbon sinks. In Kalimantan, the world's third largest island, there are 5,769,246 hectares of peat forests with 10.183 billion tons of carbon sinks.
         As forest and peatland fires have been taking place every year, extensive peatland areas have undergone degradation and need to be restored.
         Therefore, the government has set up a Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) assigned to manage efforts to restore the country's damaged peatland.
         The agency is expected this year to restore the function of some 600 thousand hectares of peatland. In order to make its efforts a success, the agency has been advised to adopt the result of a research by Malaysia in restoring degraded peatland, involving a system used to harden peat soil.

Selasa, 23 Agustus 2016

LONG WAITING LIST MAY LEAD PILGRIMS TO SEEK SHORT CUT

 by Andi Abdussalam
          Jakarta, Aug 23 (Antara) - The fact that would-be hajj pilgrims currently booking a slot will be able to depart for the Holy Land only after a wait of more than ten years could have caused some pilgrims to seek a short-cut method.
        Before 2013, Indonesia had a quota of 211,000 pilgrims who could visit Saudi Arabia to perform the fifth pillar of the Islamic tenets. The quota is based on a formula of one pilgrim for every 1,000 of a country's population.
        However, with the renovation of the Haram Mosque in Mecca going on for over three years now, the Indonesian quota of 211,000 was reduced to 168,000. This made the long waiting list of Indonesian hajj pilgrims even longer.
        Now, over 2.5 million would-be hajj pilgrims are on the waiting list. So, if the quota of 168,000 continues, Indonesia would need about 15 years to send the last batch of the would-be pilgrims. In addition, the number of devouts who register every year continues to increase.
         Therefore, many Indonesian Muslims who want to make a pilgrimage to Mecca might be frustrated to see the long waiting list. The arrest of 177 Indonesian would-be pilgrims on Saturday in Manila for having used fake Philippine passports is just an example.